Sunday, June 26, 2016

"Pok" a-Haunt Us

"Pok!" "Pok!" "Pok!"

The call was so loud like it was coming from a place not more than a couple of meters away. My wife and I strained our necks as we searched between the leaves of the tree in front of us.

"Pok!" "Pok!" "Pok!"

The hammering noise kept on teasing us. Try as much as we could we were not able to detect even the slightest movement that would reveal the source of that haunting sound.

And to think that such an experience happened not only once but twice! In a short span of two hours!

Thankfully, unlike the schadenfraude filled Coppersmith Barbet, the other avian denizens of the U.P. campus were kinder and more cooperative.

Such as the Black-naped Oriole which was more pre-occupied at picking berries than torturing a couple of bird photographers.

Even the constantly moving, tiny Lowland White-eyes, took some time off from their activities to pose for us.

And finally, the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker flew to a branch close enough for us to be able to get some good shots.

We also tried to look for the Philippine Nightjars near the burned faculty building and failed miserably on that. As we were about to leave we saw our new friend and fellow birder, Jun Sibal, whom we met earlier. He showed us the exact place where the pair of nightjars were roosting. However, because of the steep angle, the resulting photos were not worthy of publishing.

Like most birding adventures, our morning had some good moments and some not so good. 

And we still keep hearing the mocking "pok!" "pok!" "pok!" when we were already home.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Heat and Miss

Ah, the scorching, sweltering days of summer in the Philippines. Who would want to go out and do some birding in such kind of weather? Certainly not these two senior citizens who would rather stay cocooned in the comfort of an air conditioned room. 

And so summer eventually turned into the rainy days of June. Who would want to go out birding and be drenched in a sudden downpour? Certainly not these two senior citizens who are more prone to illnesses caused by the vagaries of a fickle weather.

Thankfully there were moments of sunshine in between the pouring rain. Thankfully, also, that there are places where we can bird and be able take shelter in our car in case of an unexpected shower. Such a place is in Antipolo. 

Perhaps it was because of our long hiatus that our attempts at bird photography had not been as productive as we had hoped. A very good example was when we had just entered the subdivision when we saw two endemics - a Philippine Magpie Robin and a Philippine Pied Fantail in a non-friendly confrontation. I took some shots at the Fantail while Cynthia aimed at the Magpie Robin. Sadly both our efforts produced only blurry images.

Such misfortunes continued when I saw a White-bellied Munia (the first time we've seen this species here) associating with the plentiful Scaly-breasted ones. And...the results were either blurred or the bird was partially covered by blades of grass. At least we got some good shots of the Scaly-breasted Munias.

The Long-tailed Shrike was also cooperative enough allowing us sufficient time to make the right camera adjustments.

And then there were those heart-breaking misses - a Spotted Dove that flew off even before we could grab our cameras and a Golden-headed Cisticola doing the same thing.

Everything ended quite well though. As we were about to leave, a pair of Pygmy Flowerpeckers displayed themselves not too far away from us.

Due to the summer heat we missed practicing our hobby for about two months and based on our experience in Antipolo, it seemed like were back to square one in bird photography. Which meant that we need to go out more often. Hopefully, the weather would allow us that opportunity again soon.